Since the mid of 2020, the whole electronics and electrical industry has been witnessing printed circuit board prices climb higher and higher, and this leads to higher prices of the end-products. Why have printed circuit board prices risen in recent years? In this article, we will reveal the veils behind the growth of PCB prices from two perspectives - the raw materials and the market demands.
Materials for PCB Production Rocket
In the printed circuit board supply network, there are three parts - raw materials, copper-clad laminates, and PCB manufacturing.
The upstream chain is raw materials for PCBs, such as copper foils, prepreg (PP), glass fiber, ink, copper balls, paper, etc, and almost all of their prices go up, especially the copper foils.
The midstream chain is the copper-clad laminates (CCL). The CCLs are made of the above PCB materials, and their prices in 2021 are much higher than in 2020.
Since the costs of the raw materials and CCLs soar, the downstream PCB industry struggles.
One thing you should know is that the CCL cost takes up over 50% of the total cost of PCBs, and the copper foil cost takes up most of the CCL cost. For instance, the copper foil cost takes up 50% of thinner PCBs' CCL cost, and it takes up 30% of thicker PCBs' CCL cost.
Now you may realize the main reason for the increase in PCB prices is the higher and higher copper prices.
In March 2020, the price of copper was $4371 per ton, but in February 2021, it was $9617 per ton. In one year, the copper price increased twice!
Another raw material for PCB production whose prices surged is epoxy resin. In October 2020, an epoxy resin factory in Guangdong China exploded, and in November, the world's largest epoxy resin factory in Jiangsu also exploded. In addition to the manufacturing side's accidents, the extremely cold weather in the northern hemisphere affects the production of epoxy resin. For these reasons, the prices of epoxy resin go up dramatically. For example, the epoxy resin price jumped from CNY 28900 per ton on June 1st, 2021 to CNY 31250 per ton on March 18th, 2021.
Besides, other main PCB materials' prices also go up significantly, such as glass fiber. For example, Kingboard Holdings, one of the world's largest CCL companies, claimed another price increase of glass fiber on November 30, 2020. This was the third time when this company adjusted the material prices to be higher in November. The below image is the CCl company's notification, which tells that every piece of FR4 board costs CNY 10 more, every piece of CEM-1 board CNY 5 more, every piece of VO board CNY 5 more, and every roll of PP CNY 200 more.
Market Demands Force PCB Prices to Go Up
Standard PCB copper foils are manufactured in smaller numbers, which makes them more expensive than in the past. This is because the profit rate of making standard PCB copper foils is much lower than making lithium copper foils used for new energy vehicles. As new energy vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 are in growing demand, the copper foil manufacturers assign more production in lithium copper foils, and there are fewer production lines for the standard PCB copper foils.
Besides, there is just a small number of CCL companies in the market, such as Rogers, Matsushita, Taconic, and Shengyi, but there are countless PCB manufacturers in the world. So the CCL companies can transfer the increased cost pressure to the PCB companies easily. Since May 2020, the copper-clad laminate's price has increased. Now all kinds of copper-clad laminates are 30%-100% more expensive than they were in May of 2020.
Note: PCB manufacturers usually have one to three months of PCB materials in stock, so it is after one to three months that they have to buy more expensive CCLs and PCB materials. So the time of PCB price increase is later than that of the raw material prices go up.
Now you can see the reasons why PCB manufacturers have to increase the PCB board prices:
- 1. the PCB materials are more and more expensive.
- 2. PCB manufacturers have to undertake almost all the cost pressure of raw materials.
PCBONLINE Provides High-Quality PCBs at Fair Prices
PCBONLINE, your trusted PCB manufacturer, does its hardest to protect customers' interests. We can increase as small as possible By using cutting-edge technology and automation equipment, we reduce the PCB production cost and marginal cost.
Another reason that PCBONLINE can provide PCB boards at fair prices is the lower average cost of PCB materials. PCBONLINE has specialized in advanced circuit board fabrication and assembly since 1999. Over the past 22 years, we built two large PCB production bases and one PCB assembly factory. We buy large bulks of PCB materials so that our average cost of materials is slower than those of middle or small PCB manufacturers. That is also why we can provide you with PCBs at fair prices.
Though almost all PCB material costs go up, we manage to make a good balance between our products' good quality and fair prices. You can get an instant quote online and win $100 coupons for order reduction.
PCBONLINE is a source factory manufacturer for printed circuit boards and assemblies so you can get direct quotations of printed circuit board costs.
The engineers at PCBONLINE have free design for manufacturing to ensure the PCB fabrication success without failure losses.
Through PCB design optimization, PCBONLINE can reduce the printed circuit board costs.
PCBONLINE can help you choose alternative components with the same functions and certifications as the original expensive components to reduce circuit board costs dramatically.
Extra discounts, free PCBA samples, and functional testing for bulk orders.
PCBONLINE provides the most cost-effective and high-quality printed circuit boards. Though the printed circuit board costs are custom and we can't tell you the exact price without your Gerber, below are some circuit board costs for you to check:
- Aluminum PCB cost: Free sample and $30/㎡ for bulk orders
- 4-layer FR4 PCB cost: $100 for 0.1 square meters
- 4-layer flexible PCB cost: $450 for 0.1 square meters
- Rigid-flex PCB cost: $900 for 0.1 square meters
If you want to know the exact printed circuit board cost of your PCB design, feel free to send your Gerber and requirements to PCBONLINE by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide you with one-on-one engineering support and quick services throughout the way.